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Posts Tagged ‘sxsw’

SXSWi Day 3: Journalism Can Make For Great Business, Says The Atlantic‘s Scott Havens

IAP22928The “future of journalism” topic has almost become trite in journalism circles, but for The Atlantic‘s President M. Scott Havens, thoughtful discussions and observations on the media landscape, both present and future, make the difference between being in the red and black.

At his SXSW talk, “Can Great Journalism Make for Great Business?” Havens, who will begin his post as Senior Vice President, Digital at Time Inc. March 31, explained how he helped propel a struggling then-Atlantic Monthly back to relevancy and progressiveness in the biz. A few of his “core beliefs” on producing and financially sustaining digital journalism are:

Magazines are here to stay

Sure, the definition of magazines is increasingly open for interpretation, but Havens says they’re not going anywhere. Readers are seeking stories with depth, analysis and craft, unlike so much of the content that permeates the web. “There’s something special about a well-researched magazine article,” he said. It’s fair to assume that print magazines won’t last (other than giants like TIME, Harper’s, The New Yorker, etc.) unless publishers can keep making profits from them. In The Atlantic’s experience, “Print advertising is actually sorta stable,” he said.

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Can’t We All Just Subscribe? Why ‘Paywalls’ Won’t Get Us Anywhere

Circling in my head this week are two media bits that I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to if I wasn’t still mulling over the state of paid journalism.

The first was an email from Pro Publica, on the tail of its release of “Dollars for Docs,” asking for a donation to help continue the good work. The second was a blog post you can read here about what newspaper execs should really say to users about paywalls.

And here is my conclusion: we have got to stop using the word ‘paywall.’ Now there will be some of you that are in the ‘information wants to be free,’ camp. That’s fine when it comes to transparency and politics, but not so great a business model for news pubs. So let’s stop talking about putting up walls to keep people out. The paywall has only led to griping from consumers who’ve reached their monthly article limit, and unique ways to get around them. We’re wordsmiths, we know words matter, and ‘paywall’ is another relic of the old media-new media debate. Knock it off.

Why can’t we just call it what it is? A subscription. Of course, many in the industry have finally started calling subscriptions (see what I did there?) what they are: a quick fix to make balance sheets look better. They add another revenue source, and that’s it.

Raju Narisetti said in an interview this week:

You have to think of it as a revenue stream from your most loyal people that will help, because it’s a little bit of an annuity, if you will, that will help soften the blow of what’s happening to CPMs of most papers and what’s happening to advertising. It will cushion the blow, it’ll create a new revenue stream, and in time could create more loyalty and potential upselling opportunities for ebooks and events and things like that. But it’s just going to be that — it’s going to be a stream of revenue that you didn’t have, but it’s not going to solve your problems. If anybody out there thinks a paywall is going to solve our industry’s problems in itself, they’re in for a very rude surprise.

Fine, a subscription model can’t be it. And there has to be a way, eventually, to figure out how to make digital dollars with advertising, too. But I think you have to be really cynical about humanity to just assume that no one is going to want to read interesting, enlightening, meaningful content on all the cool toys that tablets will spawn. And that it will be paid for. And that there will be the same sort of selection – from the soapy, poorly targeted tabloids to the wonky and elitist journals — that we  used to have on newsstands. Call me idealist. Call me naive. At least I’m not defeatist.

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From SXSW: Curator’s Code, An Approach For Standardizing Attribution

Whether we label ourselves as “curators” or not, we all do it: reference each other’s blog posts, news articles, tweets, photos. We republish excerpts others’ content and mix in our own thoughts. We find inspiration in one person’s writing that prompts us to write our own manifestos. Those who are Internet-savvy and attribution-conscious know that the best practice is to link back the original sources often, but a “best practice” isn’t a standard, and there’s not a consistent way for publishers across the ‘net to attribute.

Enter: The Curator’s Code. This is one of the curation/aggregation projects out of SXSW that aims to standardize the act of attributing content across the web. The project, launched by Brain Pickings’  Maria Popova, seeks to “Keep the rabbit hole of the Internet open by honoring discovery.”

Standards exist for literary citation, image attribution, and scientific reference, but beyond hyperlinking, there’s no standardized way to denote the “attribution of discovery” in our information economy. That’s what Popova and crew want to change with the Curator’s Code.

So how does it work? There are two symbols to use when blogging, Tweeting or other online publishing:

  1. A sideways “S” figure, which represents an original source (think of it as the the equivalent as a retweet or “via” on Twitter)
  2. A looped arrow, which represents a “hat tip” (as in, “here’s the source who alerted me to this thing I’m linking to” or “here’s the original inspiration for this spinoff idea I had”)

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5 Journalism Panels at SXSW Interactive 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012You may remember our post from back in August which featured fifteen journalism-related panels which were up for voting for inclusion into the 2012 SXSW schedule. Earlier this week, SXSW announced their 2012 schedule which includes over 5,000 events in the conference’s film, interactive and music tracks. Some events are still TBA, but the schedule will be updated the closer it moves to the conference’s opening date of March 9, 2012.

Here are just a few of the confirmed panels which should be of interest to journalists. This is a random sample of the entire schedule; you can search the full list of panels on the 2012 SXSW Schedule page.

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Fifteen Journalism-Related Panels for SXSW Interactive 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012Earlier this week, the colossal film, interactive, and music festival known as SXSW announced the opening of the 2012 SXSW PanelPicker, a community-driven voting portal that allows people to vote on panels which they wish to see at the upcoming conference. The PanelPicker votes and comments comprise 30% of the decision-making process for any given programming slot, with the SXSW Staff and SXSW Advisory Board accounting for 30% and 40% respectively. Voting is open from now until 11:59pm CT on Friday, September 2, 2011.

For those of you who may not be familiar with SXSW, here’s a brief video from SXSW that gives an overview of the conference:

While there are three distinct portions of the conference, SXSW Interactive offers the most diverse group of topics, especially for journalists. Currently, there are over 50 journalism-related panels up for voting in the PanelPicker. I’ve culled through them all, and here are fifteen which I think would be great for journalists of all kinds. Each panel description also includes a link to vote for the panel on the PanelPicker (voting does require registering for a free PanelPicker account).

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